Six Essays on the Preservation of Bodily Parts(amazon)
F. Gonzalez-Crussi (View Bio)
Trade Paperback: Kaplan Publishing, 2009.
“Gonzalez-Crussi, a pathologist at Northwestern University and author of Notes of an Anatomist, weaves and bobs around monstrosity and death like a python about its victim--and he is nearly as mesmerizing. In this series of six essays, he chronicles, with what appears to be resigned detachment, absurd human death rituals (e.g., the baptism of bits of miscarried embryos) and the enthusiasm for torture and death often found in ``genteel'' cultures (e.g., the carnival atmosphere of 17th-century anatomical demonstrations). But his writing--and Rosamond Purcell's photographs--reflects a morbid fascination with the subject matter. (``The sight of a profoundly malformed human being fills us with a kind of vertigo... akin to that provoked by the contemplation of our own death.'') Like Richard Selzer, Gonzalez-Crussi uses settings distant in space and time to give a fictional tone to his often horrifying subjects. The writing, generally flowing, becomes florid in spots, with words like eclosion, dehiscence and jactitation popping into an otherwise readable passage about the birth process.” –Publishers Weekly
"Dr. Gonzalez-Crussi's learning, his diligence, his lively curiosity, together make a formidable lens that he brings to bear upon the enigma of what we are and how we cease to be." -New York Times Book Review